The Ninth and Tenth Commandments
[Southwestern Michigan Teachers’ Conference Grace Ev. Lutheran Church, Eau Claire,
Michigan, March 19, 1982]
by Thomas W. Haar
From one point of view this study of the Ten Commandments is a dirty business—
comparable to what lawyers must have to do. They must really learn to love their fellow man.
So, too, you, in your study of the Law at teachers’
conferences, are no doubt really learning to
love your fellow man. No doubt previous papers
on the first eight commandments have probed
into all the clean, bright, pleasant, and agreeable corners of the noble human psyche. It must
have been thrilling to discuss man’s proclivity toward godliness, his predilection for worship, his
fondness for spiritual truth, his love of obedience to
authority, his inclination toward charity, his
penchant for marital fidelity, his proneness to insistence upon absolute truth over against his
neighbor, his immoderate concern for the inviol
ability of his neighbor’s property. Perhaps any
number of you could have been fairly twittering over the innate goodness of man. Did you raise
your voices in rapturous paeans to the human spirit? Did you all recite together your Scout oaths
and laws and pledge undying allegiance to the principles of humanism, legalism, and moralism?
This likely will be your reaction today too, as we look at Bible characters like the rich
fool, Achan, Ahab, Judas—and as we look ourselves in the heart!
On the other hand, viewed from a Christological perspective, a study of the
Commandments could be a genuinely happy endeavor. All of a sudden we’re no longer lawyers,
engaged in legalisms, in indictments, prosecutions
, defenses, convictions, appeals, etc., but we’re
God’s redeemed children, heirs of heaven, kings, priests, saints, offering our bodies as living
sacrifices, moved by the mercies of God, carrying lamps for our footsteps and lights for our
paths, standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us...